Part 18: Catharsis...
Brenner is dead. Nuked in a derelict city by Greyfield. We're on the run with the Lazurians, who could well stab us in the back at the first opportunity for getting them in this situation.
But, where there's life...
: Sir, following our escape, some troops have deserted. Also, some of the civilians are struggling to keep up with us.
: They'll have to be abandoned. Our priority is to keep moving.
: Now see here! I know I'm not a tactician like you, but we can't simply--
: Yes. We can. We can and we will.
:A commander makes difficult decisions, Doctor. That's part of the job. If you don't like it, you're free to leave.
: ...So it's like that, is it?
: We have Lazurian troops, but no time to assimilate them. We have civilians and wounded in our ranks, and no way to keep them safe. We're in a bad spot, Doctor. This is far from an optimal fighting force. Right now we need time and space to hunker down and reorganize.
: Lin, I know you're in a difficult position, but I just can't stomach abandoning people. Why, if Captain Brenner were here, I think he would find a way to...
: ...Go on.
: We're all tired, Doctor. Manners are the least of my concerns. Talk to me. How are the civilians coping?
: They're scared and restless. All of this running has worn them down to the last nerve.
: Yet you don't seem frightened, Doctor.
: Me? I didn't realize I was that good of an actor! Oh ho ho ho!
: As the civilians' representative, I must maintain an air of calm at all times. I think they just want to know what is going on.
: ...All right. I'll tell them.
: With Greyfield's men on our heels, the slightest shock could send them into a full panic.
The situation is thankfully glossed over as Lin retells it.
: ...So that is our current situation. Unfortunately, we are going to be low on time, food, and manpower for the foreseeable future.
: Please, good people! We must listen to Lieutenant Lin and pull together. This is our darkest hour since the meteors, but we can get through it if we work as one!
: Your key to survival is following orders. Do what you're told when you're told. Your main task is providing support to the combat units. Is that clear?
: We ain't soldiers! We're victims! Why we gotta follow your orders?!
: I blame this on Captain Brenner! His ego got in the way of his judgement, and now we're on the run! That Greyfield is a lunatic! He'll track us down and kill us all!
: Let me ask you a question. Do you value your lives?
: What? What kind of question--
: This is not a camp of slaves. This is a camp of free men who can live or die as they please.
: But know this... I am not Captain Brenner. If you can't cut it out there, you're on your own. I won't come back for anyone.
: Lin, please! Must you be so harsh?
: That's reality, Doctor. I won't temper it for them.
: Well, yes, but pehraps you could be less confrontational? You know, throw in some jokes, like I do?
: ...Perhaps you're right. How would you suggest I go about being more... gentle?
: I think it's a bit late for that!
: What is it, Isabella?
: We have to work together. We have to help each other.
: Oh ho! Now that's the attitude we need! Come on, everyone! Let's pull together!
: The danger's clear to us all, Doctor. It's only a matter of time before this all blows up. Will?
: Will! Snap out of it!
: I know how you feel about Brenner, but we've no time to grieve. The enemy is closing in. We need a plan to evade them for a little while longer.
: Y-you're right. I'm sorry.
: Sir! We have an emergency!
: Oh, what now?!
: Some of our rear-guard units have been captured by the enemy!
WELP. So much for concealment.
: ...Damn. I hoped we had more time. We can't worry about them now. We have to break camp and get out of here. I want--
Well, you're just bloody useful as a rear guard, aren't you? Goddammit...
: All right. First, we need to pull our infantry back to a safe position.
First, our music: We have no CO controlling the units, so we get the generic music you also hear in Trial Maps right now. In game, it is titled either Days of Ruin or Dark Conflict, depending on your region
Lin wasn't lying. This is pretty terrible. We have a lot to get done, so let's get started. First thing you should notice is it's Fog of War, so we can use the trees to our advantage in getting a couple of the infantry back. Second, we have a natural chokepoint near the center of the map, conveniently blocked by trees.
In the southwest, we have our base, with an uncaptured airport. In the southeast is a much nicer airport to build from, so this one will likely be relegated to funding purposes only.
Northwest has a secondary factory, and a couple more cities. Greyfield tends to beeline a couple infantry that way, so we'll want to be quick to get there first.
This infantry is easy. In range of the center factory means he can get this for us and have it usable on Day 3.
Northern mech moves over and reveals another light tank. Because the armored force we could already see wasn't enough.
Our other infantry takes shelter close to the main force, and our remaining mech goes into hiding by the enemy city. Our other units all pile in close to the choke.Greyfield has some choice words for us once we end our turn:
: Prepare to meet your precious Captain Brenner...in hell!
His smile is... unsettling. He could use a nuke, but I guess it isn't OVERKILL enough to use it on an army compared to a single injured man.
Don't you worry Will, this force has seen tougher. We've taken out war tanks. Though the appearance of them on Greyfield's side makes me think Caulder has been working with him for a bit now...
Our mech in the north didn't make it. Unfortunate, but kind of expected, just like when we faced the Beast in Fog of War.
On the plus side, we have the center factory.
The other infantry piles into the T Copter and gets dropped off at the eastern airport.
And since he's screwed no matter what, may as well have this mech take out a chunk of this tank.
...Right... there was a Md tank there... Good luck buddy! :patriot
Nothing else is moved around, so I end turn. Will gets emotional at the start of Day 3:
: Isabella: Oh, Isabella. Hi.
: Will, I'm worried about you.
: I'm sorry, Isabella. I didn't mean to worry you. I'll pull myself together.
: It's OK...
: No, it's not. Dr. Morris is right. I can't afford to act like this. It's just that... When Captain Brenner saved my life, everything seemed so clear.
: What do you mean?
: I owed my life to him. I knew my role was to help him however I could.
: Will, I... I don't know what you should do either. All I know is that... I'm sad. I'm sad because you are.
: Isabella, look--
: I don't know why I feel this way! I don't know anything, and I HATE IT! But when you're happy, I am too. And I don't want to be sad anymore.
Click this image ^
: Captain Brenner saved my life. Now I must use it to save others.
Now this is what we need. Will takes command at the start of day 3, better music and all. This fully opens up the CO power ability. Now we just need to load him onto a unit...
East infantry begins capture on the airport, and the central infantry jumps into a moved T copter for transport towards our HQ.
Artillery takes a shot at the tank that killed our other mech, and the War tank retreats to the factory, with the light tank covering the woods.
Start of Day 4, and this is why I moved the War tank back. CO's are placed onto a unit at a unit producing building or at the HQ. As a result, the War tank instantly becomes a veteran, gets the +10% bonus to attack and defence, and gets Will's ability and CO aura. What is Will's ability, you ask?
Simply put, his tanks and other land based units get more powerful when in his aura. Sadly, his aura is only 2 squares wide, but because he's in a war tank, this matters little. Placing a CO onto a unit costs funds though, specifically half the cost of the unit you're putting them onto.
Now, before we go on a rampage, I take care of unloading the infantry back home to begin grabbing those buildings.
I can see Greyfield sending an infantry over towards the west, so the B Copter breaks away to begin harassing it. At the same time, the light tank moves off the woods, to be replaced by Will's War tank. A flare is also bought, because vision is a nice thing.
Day 5, and we snagged us an enemy Md tank. Let's have FUN.
And a bomber.
Artillery support gives us the insurance of the kill, but Will doesn't even need that help. 105% on an Md tank. Yeesh.
Flare moves up, and a rig is built to support Will's rampage and the artillery.
Day 6, and capturing finishes. Greyfield only now decides an airport may be useful. Little late, of course, but the thought was there.
Playing a little T Copter shuffle to get it ready to move the infantry up north.
Bomber attacks that infantry, and discovers much more is afoot. Gotta deal with that.
B Copter support for the east.
The west B Copter, meanwhile, goes on a surveillance run to ensure Greyfield isn't trying to grab the factory. I can now assume he's capturing one of the north cities. Artillery also has some fun with a roadbound infantry. Shame the arty isn't in Will's zone.
Rig goes up and supplies the artillery, assuring us we'll have fire support should Will not manage to kill an enemy himself.
day 7 opens with our B Copter attacking the upper infantry, leaving room for the bomber to strike the infantry on the city.
The bomber proceeds to annihilate the infantry, and our own infantry attempt to finish off the enemy in the mountains.
Which works. Gotta love it.
Now that we have air units, the rig begins building a T. Air in the central hold.
I screw up a little here, and leave my infantry in firing range. Oh well, this side isn't a necessity for me.
A bike is built down south to start capturing the remainder of the buildings there.
Day 8 rises, and the enemy infantry in the west has gone and attacked our infantry. On the plus side, he's now exposed completely.
Our infantry flees and begins capture. Greyfield, no longer knowing where he went, will ignore that infantry, and the B Copter really makes it not worthwhile to pursue even if he wasn't at 1HP. The T copter flies over the other two cities, giving vision there as an extra bonus. In the center, the T.Air is completed.
To the east, our bomber hovers in the mountains, and our infantry begins capture of Greyfield's city. Centrally, another War tank is made.
And finally, to the southwest the bike begins capture, and another is made to speed to process up a little.
Day 9 begins with finishing off this infantry before he can fully flee.
Then infantry finish stealing Greyfield's money.
I decide to begin the breakout. A flare to expose enemy movement comes first. Always a good idea to avoid any possibility of an ambush moment.
Thankfully, nothing was hidden in the ruins or woods, so Will and the light tank make a move up. The infantry that the bomber failed to kill a while back has made it to the city, and begun healing. Aside from that, nothing else is visible. But I know Greyfield has at least one War tank. At the same time, our second war tank covers the choke, and the AA becomes bait.
The T copter, having done it's job of scouting and ferrying, begins to fly home for some rest and more fuel.
Bike 1 finishes capturing the second factory, bike 2 heads towards the southern pair of cities. An Md tank is also built to assist in the move out from the center.
Day 10 leads to a bunch of movement from Greyfield. Our AA did it's job valiantly, but died in the process. The light tank got battered pretty badly, and Will's War tank, with it's veteran status and extra damage from Will himself, outright WON the battle against Greyfield's recruit war tank. You almost never see that happen on an enemy phase with two even HP units, so I'm mildly amused.
Wholesale slaughter of Greyfield will begin momentarily, first we have bookkeeping to attend to. Bikes continue their unending thirst for more funds.
As do the two remaining infantry on our force. Meanwhile, the B Copter comes charging in from the side, and thanks to getting the 10% boost from being in Will's CO zone, appears to be able to kill the war tank with some luck.
It's great being lucky sometimes.
Artillery's up next. It damages the AA...
Which the tank kills off.
The Md tank rolls up and destroys the enemy tank.
This boosts Will's meter to half full, giving a new range of 3 tiles to his zone.
War tank crushes an AA beneath it's treads.
And Will uses his war tank to attack and cripple one of the remaining tanks in view.
Our own tank is still exposed. We need to make sure it doesn't die, if only for my score.
Bomber comes in and attacks the Md tank. Two times lucky in one turn?
Yes. With that threat out of the way...
our other B Copter comes flying in and, just inside Will's CO range, attacks the other tank.
Will's CO meter is charged up. And he wants blood from Greyfield.
Look at that CO range. Often, it's more worthwhile to hold an increased CO zone over blowing the power itself. Since you get a 10% power and defence boost to all in the zone, holding chokes becomes easier, as does a rolling advance.
Day 11, and that eastern B Copter looks a little worse for wear. Turns out Greyfield has an anti tank hiding somewhere.
First, let's see what Greyfield built last turn, yes?
B Copter gets the hell out of there, and our damaged tank does recon work.
Flare down, but that's the anti tank that attacked the B copter.
Md tank kills off the infantry by the fire, and our other B copter comes in and takes out this one.
At this point I remember I haven't actually dealt with capturing. Well then, here you go.
Right, back to the action. We're sitting in a good spot. Md Tank built in the center, just to be sure.
ENEMY MECH SPOTTED IN THE WEST. Also, thanks to Will moving closer to the bomber, that anti air didn't completely neuter it.
Erry day I'm capturin'
That mech's in for a surprise, no? Infantry weakens it enough that the Md tank'll kill it next turn for sure.
Right, enough avoiding it. I'm sure people have been waiting for this since the start of the game. CO Power time.
What, you think I wouldn't give you the CO Power theme? I like it. Great to listen to as you roll through forces. Speaking of...
So, what the CO Power does in this game is extend the CO Zone to be map wide. Every unit gets the +10% bonus to attack and defence, and whatever unit gets the CO bonus (in Will's case, direct fire ground units) will also get that bonus map wide. In addition, you get their CO power, Will's being the +2 movement for direct fire land units. It's really nice. Using the power, however, expends the CO unit's turn.
After rolling a mech with a war tank and the AA with an Md tank, the bomber damages the anti tank.
And the other B Copter comes in and takes revenge on the anti tank attacking it's brethren.
Artillery, having seen no action since something like Day 5, moves up.
And the Md tank drowns this infantry in a storm of bullets.
Even the flare gets in on the massive attack boost Will gives, since it too is a direct fire land unit. Sadly, it doesn't get the kill. But at least it does as much damage as a regular duster would.
The rig comes in and gives more ammo to those who need it, roughly everyone around him.
And we move our other Md tank forward. Not that it'll really be needed, but hey.
That's adorable. Day 13 rises, and we can assume Greyfield has another unit on his factory in addition to the three visible.
My plan earlier works, and despite sacrificing the infantry in the west, the Md tank finishes the mech off.
Contingency plan: if all else fails, capture HQ.
Oh hey, an artillery. I guess that's why my tank is at 1 HP?
Md tank takes out a mech.
Will, able to move again, rolls up and kills the tank.
Flare double checks for hidden troops...
Well now. What have we here?
This cannot be allowed, Greyfield.
Sadly, no single unit will outright kill the full health artillery sitting on the HQ. next turn.
Bomber goes and finishes the other artillery, and the rig covers the factory.
Day 14, Greyfield has one unit, and I have a lot of options to kill it with.
Catharsis(n): The purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.
War is an artform, right? Look at that wreckage, it's BEAUTIFUL.
For the record, that's Will's war tank.
: We gotta retreat! We need reinforcements!
: Bah! Unacceptable! You weak-minded, cowardly, pathetic simpletons! I took care of that traitor Brenner and yet you cannot finish the job?! I'll see you hanged for this! All of you! No one fails Admiral Greyfield!
Will, be rational now... he has NUKES. You have a war tank. Unless it's fully lead lined, I don't think you're living through that.
: WHAT?! How dare you address me like that!
: And you're going to pay for what you did to Captain Brenner!
Will, I've never said this to another man, but I love you right now.
: What an insolent whelp you are! Davis! Gather all of my forces! I want these worms crushed NOW!
: Captain, we won't let you down!
Hells yeah. Now, we were narrowly avoiding a revolution before all this happened. How can we solve that?
: At ease, Will. I'm glad to see that you're looking better.
: Yeah. I know I've been pretty pathetic lately, but I'm pulling it together.
: Don't be too hard on yourself. This is a rough patch for everyone. It has only been a few days since Captain Brenner... Well, since...
: It's OK, Lin. Really.
: I know you took his death harder than most. To be honest, I wondered if you would be able to fight for us again.
: Yeah, I was in a bad way. But I thought about what the captain would say if he was here, and... Well, that turned it around. I guess I kind of idolized him, huh?
I mean, you could idolize Waylon. Or Davis! ...The Beast? No?
: He would have told me to stop being such a big baby and get to work! Of course, he would have been nice about it... Anyway, that's why I decided to fight. I'll make time to mourn the captain later.
: I may have misjudged you, Will. You're stronger than I thought.
: Not as strong as you! I saw how you pulled us together after we lost Captain Brenner. I know people say you're kind of coldhearted... Well, never mind. Whatever they say, you're a great leader.
: Actually, Will, that brings me to my point. I have something to ask of you.
: Yeah, OK. What is it?
: Let's go inside. I don't want any little birds overhearing this.
Inside the HQ tent
: YOU WHAT?
: B-but, Lin! You can't be serious! I can't lead an army!
: Brenner's Wolves has lost its commander. We need to find a successor. After considering various options, I feel that you are the best choice for the job.
Self depreciating comments are not becoming of a Commander, Will.
: Will, are you aware of how many people are currently in this camp?
: You mean exactly? Um... Well, let me think...
: Let's see... Oh, we've also got 709 noncombatants.
: There's also 613 Lazurian troops waiting to be integrated. Add them up, and we're actually larger than a standard battalion. But putting all these people together is going to require a delicate touch. And a young man like you is more likely to be accepted by the Lazurians.
: Yeah, but...
: And there are civilians to think of. They like and trust you.
Lin:I left some of them behind. They think I did it out of spite or malice. They think I'd leave them all if it was in the best interest of the Wolves.
What? People DISLIKE Lin? I find that hard to believe.
: But that's wrong! Listen, I'll talk to them, I'll tell them--
: No, it's not, Will. It's not wrong. If I had to, I'd leave every single one of them behind. Brenner didn't abandon anyone, but he wasn't a typical soldier.
: Lin, I can't believe...
: Do you think me harsh, Will? If so, you should become our leader.
: No one will understand why I'm in command instead of you.
: I'll talk to the Rubinelle soldiers. You can talk to the Lazurians.
: ...I don't know, Lin. This seems like a bad idea. I'm just a kid.
: That's right. You're a kid. You're a wholesome, likeable kid, and that's what we need. We need someone that all of us can rally around. That's all a good leader really is.
: Sooooo... I'm in charge, but you're really in charge. Is that it?
: Precisely. I know you lack military knowledge and all but the most basic tactical awareness. Right now, I'd only trust you with low-level military tasks. Like cleaning.
: Ouch! Geez, Lin, don't sugarcoat it for me or anything.
: ...What? Too harsh? OK, hold on a second.
: Stop. Please stop right now. I get it. Please don't talk to me like a little kid.
No, do go on. I want to hear the analogy!
: We have to tread carefully. Between the civilians and the Lazurians and the lack of food... Our force should be on the verge of collapsing from the inside out.
: Really?! You think they might...
: Mutiny? Yes, I think they might. That's why you need to hold them together. At least until we can deal with Greyfield.
: If it helps to keep our forces together, I'll do whatever I can.
: Good. Thank you, Commander.
: You'll get used to it, Commander. You have to.
: OK, OK! I'll get used to it!
Caulder performs SCIENCE! Fun times abound!